By Lynn Rebuck
“Going viral” can be positive if your yodeling cat’s video has spread like wildfire over the Internet and Ellen has called to invite you to appear on her show.
Parts of the country have been going viral in a less desirable way as H1N1 and other viruses have wound their way through the states this flu season.
When a virus spreads quickly through a community or population, it is called an epidemic. When it spreads around the world, it’s called a pandemic. When it spreads through a family, I call it a “famidemic.”
I’m not sure which is worse, when one family member after another gets an illness in succession, or when everyone gets sick at once.
If everyone becomes ill at the same time, the 24/7 demands of a never-ending nursing shift bring out my inner Nurse Ratched.
If a respiratory virus runs through your family in succession, certain things seem to be true. If you are the first in your family to become ill, you can’t find any sympathy. If you are the last one to get sick, you can’t find any tissues.
I’m not sure why, but children, who are selfish and greedy most of the year, choose flu season to become generous and giving with each other, readily sharing with a healthy sibling whatever germs they can find.
If one child gets sick and feverish at a time, and is absent from school for several days, and then your next child goes through the same illness, you can be homebound with a succession of sick children anywhere from three days until school lets out for summer vacation.
You may not get out of your house for months, and you can develop a condition from the confinement that I call “Fever Cabin Fever.” You know you have it when you have correctly guessed the price on every showcase showdown on “The Price is Right” for four weeks, if Drew Carey is starting to look handsome, or if you start taking calls from telemarketers just to have human contact.
We have all been there. You think it’s finally over when you put the last kid on the bus, toss the last bag of nose tissues, and drain the last drop of cough medicine from the tiny cup (you haven’t been sick, but you found that it really took the edge off the last few weeks).
You put on makeup for the first time in months. As you step out the door to go to the local hair salon, Roots, you are blinded by the light of the sun. It is then that your cell phone rings. You notice it is the school’s phone number on the caller ID. You let the call go to voicemail. You fantasize about updating your phone number on the children’s emergency contact cards at school with the word “unlisted.”
Lynn Rebuck is an award-winning humor columnist, speaker, and comedian whose column and humor videos appear online at www.LynnRebuck.com. She carries a flask of Nyquil for medicinal purposes. © 2009 Lynn Rebuck